Tag Archives: family

Hipwaders release another CD!

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The Hipwaders Rock!  What more do you need to know?  Their latest CD is worth the purchase.  Fun lyrics, great vocals and harmonies not to mention that cool California grove that they’re famous for.  We are big fans of this band and Year Round Sounds brings some new tunes, covers and holiday music our hipwader picfamily has been digging. They now sit in the much coveted car CD slot! Willie Samuels does a great job once again of making the band sound great in the studio.  Mic Check , Kings and Queens and The Books I Like to Read are three of my favorite songs.  I find this a worthy follow up to The Golden State my only complaint being… Tito when’s the next release? They are having a CD release party this Saturday, September 13th in Vacaville, CA.  Go buy this CD and support a kindie artist today!

A Bit of Catch Up… Jeff Fest, Slab Fork and Lollapalooza!

WebBanner_960x338What a great time we had at Jeff Fest again!  The band sounded good and the sound folks did an excellent job.  Not to mention Rob and Sharon made us feel like a million bucks and quickly took care of any problems at hand.  It is really one of the best festivals in the City and many thanks to the Jefferson Park  Chamber for making it happen.  If you have kids this is a must festival.  For a mere $5 entry you get the bounce houses, arts and crafts, a fantastic family stage with many interactive acts not to mention the great music coming from the mainstage!  With plenty of great food and beverages available I highly recommend you to put this one on next years calendar.

slab forkI would be highly remiss here if I failed to mention the show my friend and fellow Poochamungas bandmate put together back on July 16th.  Alton Smith gathered some of the best musicians in the city (some of my favorite people too!) and once again paid tribute to the music of Bill Withers. For a mere $10 at the City Winery one got to behold the power and majesty of a tour de’ force musical experience.  When and if they perform again I shall let you know and you should make haste to wherever they are playing.  Thank you Bill, Wally, John, John, Gerald, Mike, Steve, Manny and Alton for doing what you do so well!

Kidzapalooza-6-photo-imageThis Friday I get to play on the Kidzapalooza stage at Lollapalooza with some of my favorite Chicago Kindie Folk!  Many thanks to Laura Doherty for setting it up and for Tor Hyams for having us perform.  If you’re at Lolla stop on by Friday at 1:30pm. I will be performing along with some super talented Chicago folks including Little Miss Ann, Mr. Singer, Jeanie B!, and Ralph of Ralph’s World not to mention Laura herself!  Make a visit it’ll be a lot of fun!

A year of music.

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The goal is a simple one.  To spend every weekend for a year attending different music festivals.  Ideally Poochamungas would play at a bunch of them as well.  I would prefer no Jumbotrons.  One should be able to identify all the performers onstage from anywhere in the audience.  I shouldn’t need a TV to see the band I’m viewing at a concert but not a deal breaker.  That’s why I really enjoyed the American Music Festival last week at Fitzgerald’s and today at Irish Fest at the Irish American Heritage Center.  It’s about music and then the festivities.  People come to see and interact with the bands.  Gaelic Storm had such a crowd standing and singing along. Dublin City Rovers spread a lot of joy as well.  Such fun energy to be a part of.  Unfortunately my youngest child had no more energy to spare and we had to head home early in the show. My daughter on the other hand stayed and closed the show.  A year may be to ambitious… Maybe start with a summer full of music and expand from there.  The kids are young and they follow in their fathers music loving footsteps. So maybe?

A Parade for Everyone

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The siren of the Fire Engine signaled the start. Kids, parents, friends, neighbors traveled on wagons, bikes, scooters, big wheels, roller blades, trailers and on foot for my favorite parade of the year.  The Oriole Park Independence Parade in which the participants always far out way the spectators. Everyone is polite, kind and thoughtful. It seems any fallen biker is instantly helped by the nearest adult till their parent arrives. OPP grand marshall  The cacophony of stupidity starts later after the sun goes down so this event is all about kids and the community. Most kids decorated their mode of transportation (especially my kids) and everyone’s color coordinated in the red, white and blue.  The  Grand Marshall is Children’s Librarian Mary Dresser (we love the local library) followed by The Oriole Park Grade School Band (playing the Star Spangled Banner), Revolutionary War re-enactors, a local scout troop and the rest of us in no particular order.opp flag The Chicago Police protect the rear.  After .7 miles of parade all participants enter into the park where small speeches are made, the Star Spangled Banner played (the band played that song a lot), and a cannon fired.  Then off to eat watermelon, get candy (free) and Dilly Bars for a dollar!  Kids ran around the park as parents reunited to talk about what’s been Oriole Park Parade Fire Enginehappening during the summer.  It’s a beautiful summer day and it feels good to be a part of the community.  One by one the families left till there’s just a smattering of us hanging out. We walked and rode home, just a tired family after a full morning.  We aren’t always the most neighborly community but it’s nice to see that we can all come together for a small party to celebrate the birthday of our nation.

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Lucky Diaz talks a little music.

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I called to talk to Latin Grammy Winner Lucky Diaz about his latest CD and tour and ended up talking about lots of other stuff.  I caught up with the bilingual star while he, wife Alisha and child were taking a break in Columbus, Indiana visiting Alishas family. They’re in the middle of a national tour and what better place to catch a breather than the heartland  of our country. It’s only a short rest because they arrive in the Chicago area tomorrow Friday, June 20th, performing  at two Land of Nod stores.  One in Oak Brook (11am) and one in Chicago(4pm)  in support of their last two CD releases –  Lishy Lou and Lucky Too lucky and lishy(October 2013) and their new release Aqui Alla.  I highly recommend seeing them as they are highly energetic and interactive. It’ll be fun for the whole family…  Now that business is out-of-the-way let’s get to the fun stuff. I first met Lucky and Alisha at the last Kindiefest (a moment of silence).  We had a brief conversation after their great set.  This time Lucky and I got to speak a lucky aquibit longer.  Any conversation that flows from Credence Clearwater Revival (with John Fogherty) to Stevie Ray Vaughn to Los Lobos to Fleetwood Mac with mentions of Sound City and used guitar shops is great conversation in my book.   How awesome is it that the Legenday Flaco Jimenez plays on the opening track of Aqui Alla (Flaco absolutely kills it)!  That Lucky records most of his stuff live and on 2” tape (watch Sound City) keeping overdubs to a minimum!  It very cool is what it is. Very cool indeed!   But the coolest thing of talking to Mr. Diaz is his appreciation of where his music has come from. Mentions of Chuck Berry, Richie Valens, Chicano Rock, traditional blues and The Mavericks just to name a few he mentioned.   That he takes the time to talk to a fellow kindie artist/ blogger and spends most of the interview talking about how others have helped and inspired him. From  producers to musicians to the girl who inspired the song Firefighter Girl (we like firefighter songs around here) Lucky is a man thankful for where he is and those who helped. If you have an opportunity go catch a show near you.  Lucky Diaz and the Family Band are worth the trip.  Go by their CD and support a kindie artist today!

Photo credit: Judy Eddy / WENN
Photo credit: Judy Eddy / WENN
The CD’s were provided by the artist to this blogger.  The opinions expressed here are his own

Istvan at Fischman’s Rocking

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Yesterday Fischman Liquors on Milwauke threw a huge party (450+) called Kegs for Kidneys with many, many breweries bringing great brews to drink. I hear it was a great time. Today they had a family event raising money for the National Kidney Foundation in the same space raising money for the same foundation called Jammin in the Lot.   Table games, spin art with 45th Ward Alderman Arenas and his wife Jill pedaling the art…Literally! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Giant Jenga, arts and crafts and all sorts of fun stuff… Oh yeah they had my buddy Istvan and His (very rocking) Imaginary Band. The family is big fans of the songs – Things I Like and Mama Said and we’d been wanting to see them live.  Did I mention 2 industrial bubble machines, balloons and kids jammin’ on the therimin?  That has to be one of the coolest things I’ve seen in show. The kids playing (the theremin) Jammin in the lotwere totally owning it!  Istvan and company were a great band to see and catching them at this event was a bonus. I shall do my best to bring the family next year. I hope the event was a great success because we certainly had a great time!

Jammin at the lot

The Song and The Process. Looking for Trains by Justin Roberts.

JRwillyThe idea came from a father on the road with a band sending home photos and videos to his train obsessed son.  It was a way to stay in touch even when he couldn’t be with the family.  Bands tend to travel and good bands travel a lot.  Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players are one of the best (Two Grammy nominations.)  They travel quite a bit.  It started with the melody and the words “Seems like you’re always looking for trains.”  So began Looking for Trains by Justin Roberts off of his recently Grammy nominated CD Recess.  The father in the band is drummer Gerald Dowd (drummer, father and good guy extraordinaire) who was doing what dads do.  If the kids wants to see trains you send that kid pictures, books, videos and whatever else you find train related.  With a melody and opening lyric Justin then further djr recesseveloped the song on his guitar which is not how he usually works these days.  Nowadays he likes to develop songs on Logic.  This is an Apple program that allows him to add all sorts of instrumentation.  Strings, horns, guitars, etc.  So when he heads into the studio he already has a direction and feel for a song.  But this time he grabs his guitar and starts working it out old school (I’m a big fan of old school.) Lyrically he comes up with every rhyming verse he can think of that makes references to trains.  Then he inserts the lyrics to mimic the train rhythm he has set up in the instrumentation.  When it comes to the bridge he envisions it as getting bigger.  This is where his co-conspirator/producer and fellow band member Liam Davis stepped in, stripped it down (just piano and violin) holding the listener right when the point of the song is being made.  The best thing about this song is that it’s about more than trains which I suspected and Justin confirmed.  It’s about life. About hope.  How we are all looking for our trains “even though all we can see right now are the cars.”

Maybe it’s caught up in tunnels in the middle of a mountain so wide.  Maybe it’s stuck over bridges trying to get to the other side. Either way it’ll be here any day I can see it now it’s coming through…”

I asked if Mr. Roberts writes the music or words first and he said said both.  That he writes the words and the melody at the same time.  He is also not a constant writer or an inspirational writer but rather a “writes when he has too” writer.  Which is impressive.  Knowing you have a deadline puts added pressure on the Justin Robertswhole process.  This works good for some but poorly for others.  He also made a simple statement when asked why he writes kids songs that I find resoundingly true. That he “just writes songs.” Rather good songs if you ask me.  These days Justin has a new picture book coming out called The Smallest Girl in The Smallest Grade (Putnam Books), is writing a musical, got elected to the Chicago Chapter Board of The Recording Academy and will be touring with the band.  Do yourself a favor.  Whether you have kids or not go and give Recess a listen and you tell me if it’s not a power pop masterpiece (It is).  Good music knows no age is our motto and Justin Roberts and his band mates put out some of the best music around for kids, families, aliens, dockworkers and whoever else is listening. Listen to the track (pun intended) below and  go support your local kindie artist today.

Looking for Trains